I had been speaking the previous day at a party about the assets of my chosen sailing craft, the Sunfish. Simplicity and stability were at the top of the list. In preparing for the sail out to the Northeast Point of Bull Island, I was aware of the long interlude since my last sail in February. The sail and island plan was not ambitious: tack out to the Point in south-east winds. land and walk around to newly planted seed plots of a threatened dune plant, seabeach amaranth.
At the seed plots I was initially disappointed to mainly see sand, but was glad to eventually view some little plants. The sailing was overall easy on the way out, except when bucking the incoming tide when tacking to the Point. A loggerhead was spotted before the landing, and a couple more on the reach home. A sizable dolphin pod headed into Bull Creek behind the island. These observations were to be expected; what was a surprise occurred on the beat out to Bulls Bay. I must have been deep in thought in going to windward on the port tack when the wind veered to the south-east in a puff, and before I could react I had capsized. Rounding the stern in the water I grabbed the daggerboard, positioned in its slot nicely with shock cord, and with little effort righted Kingfisher. I was soon back in the cockpit, and after a quick look around found only one item overboard – a water bottle. A well practiced man-overboard drill facilitated the pickup.
There were no observers for this mishap. I had to think back to my last accidental capsize: probably off of White Banks in 2007. Several years ago a friend had filmed me in Nice day for a capsize for a planned flip after a jibe. For today’s capsize, I came out with a little water in the cockpit, yet the glass was half-full. The water was warm, in fact delightful. My glasses were strapped on my head and stayed there, as did my hat. I flipped in deep water, in fact over the Shark Hole, so there was no danger of the mast getting stuck in the mud, often the case in the shallow waters of the Lowcountry, as with my planned capsize. The humbling was a reminder of the delicate balance in sailing, and the memory will serve me well in future voyages.